Was It Henry James who said that when good Americans die they go to Paris? [No-Ed.] Thomas Carlson-Reddig is an American and he has written a book entitled An Architects’s Paris. He is not good enough to go to Paris dead or alive. The publisher’s blurb is understandably written in the language of hyperbole, but unfortunately this style carries right on into the text of the book. We are told that the author was the recipient of the Rotch Travelling Scholarship (and where, pray, does that travel to?) and that there was an earlier ‘self-published’ volume. I rather liked the author’s own drawings of the architectural sights, a bit like Hugh Casson’s, and it would be hard to make Paris look ugly. The publisher claims that the book is designed to withstand the rigours of travelling and handling. I tested this statement and can confirm that it is unfortunately true. Carlson-Reddig’s ‘prowl in this great city’ retails at £9.99 and is expensive at the price. Anthony Sutcliffe’s Paris: An Architectural History is priced at £25 and is dirt-cheap for its value. It is profusely illustrated and the text is of the quality that one has come to associate with the Yale University Press, and with its author, who is the leading academic historian on this subject today. I shall treasure my reviewer’s copy and will purchase many more for the stockings of my friends.
I approached Professor Sutcliffe’s latest book somewhat warily. An architectural history of Paris in only 205 pages? It seemed too short for such a large subject. There will be readers who may feel that they already know the history of France pretty well. There will be specialist scholars who have